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National Guard members get wildfire training

National Guard members get field training in methods to prevent woodland fires from spreading in this 2017 photo. (Department of Public Safety and Standards Training)
Friday, August 3, 2018

Members of the Oregon National Guard are being trained for wildfire suppression, now that funds have been allocated by the federal government.

On Monday, a group of 200 citizen soldiers and citizen airmen head to the public safety academy in Salem for a weeklong training. Earlier this month, a separate group of 200 received the training at Camp Rilea.

The federal funds were allocated at the request of state officials to help prepare members of the National Guard in case their assistance is needed to support wildland firefighting efforts this year.

The weeklong training is the same required of all public and private wildland firefighters and consists of both classroom and hands-on sessions.

In 2015, members of the Oregon National Guard assisted with wildfire suppression efforts in John Day and Enterprise. In 2017, more than 400 ONG members supported Oregon's air and ground efforts at Chetco Bar, Blanket Creek, Horse Prairie and Milli fires.

Last year, Oregon Army National Guard helicopters dropped more than 700,000 gallons of water.

The Oregon National Guard has an agreement with the Oregon Department of Forestry that stipulates the details of how Oregon National Guard members will be utilized to assist in annual firefighting efforts if needed. This agreement is reviewed on an annual basis by both agencies and the Governor's Office. 

On July 18, Gov. Kate Brown declared a statewide wildfire emergency, making the ONG troops available when needed.

National Guard members get field training in methods to prevent woodland fires from spreading in this 2017 photo. (Department of Public Safety and Standards Training)


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